Low-hanging line derails Red Lion Halloween parade

Liz Evans Scolforo

Monday night's Halloween parade in Red Lion hit a snag when a float carrying kids and hauled by a tractor-trailer caught on a low-hanging cable line.

It happened just before 8 p.m. in the first block of Boundary Avenue, in front of Fairmount Park, according to Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mooney of Red Lion's Leo Independent Fire Co.

This tractor-trailer and float snagged a low-hanging wire, bending a utility pole and causing live electric lines to drop onto the trailer on Oct. 24, 2016, fire officials said.
(Photo courtesy of Southern Pa. Incident Network)

"Somehow, a cable line was hanging low enough that the front of the trailer caught it," Mooney said. "It actually pulled the (utility) pole over a little bit. Then that put slack in all the electric lines that connect to all the houses."

It didn't look so bad, he acknowledged, but the situation could have been dangerous.

"When the electric lines (draped) across the top of the tractor-trailer, the truck was actually energized," Mooney said. "If your shoes weren't thick enough and you touched the truck, you could have gotten a shock."

Mooney was at his normal spot at the end of the parade route — call it the caboose — waiting to start moving along the parade route and handing out candy when he was alerted by Red Lion fire police.

Everyone safe: All of the children got off the float safety.

"I'm not sure how they got the kids off the trailer because they were gone by the time I got there," Mooney said, adding he might have made the children remain on the float until electric service to the wires had been turned off, just to be safe.

"Thank God it wasn't wet out," he said, because wet conditions would have more efficiently conducted electricity from the drooping lines.

PHOTOS: Dallastown Halloween Parade

Normally, the parade starts at 7 p.m. at Red Lion Area High School and proceeds to Horace Mann Avenue, then turns left onto South Main Street, left onto West Broadway, left onto South Franklin Street for a block, then left onto Boundary Avenue and right on Charles Street. From there, it heads back to the high school.

But after the mishap, Red Lion fire police rerouted the parade, having it turn left onto Charles Street from Broadway, which shortened the route but avoided the mess on Boundary Avenue, according to Mooney.

"They did a really good job," he said.

Crew moved lines: Firefighters stood by until a Met-Ed crew arrived, turned off power and lifted the lines from the float, which was then moved, Mooney said.

The whole incident took about 2½ hours, he said.

During that time, people living between 21 Boundary Ave. and 37 Boundary Ave. were barred from going in or out via the front of their homes, according to Mooney, "because if the pole continued to fall, those lines could possibly have struck somebody."

No one lost power, he said.

Leftover candy: Mooney said he and about five other firefighters returned to their station about 10:30 p.m. None of them watched or rode in the parade, he confirmed.

But there was a bright side, aside from the fact that no one was hurt:

"I did have a little extra candy, because I didn't get to throw any (in the parade)," Mooney said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.